Setting up Arduino for use with the Heltech ESP32 LoRa Board
Heltech has good instructions here.
The first step is to set up the USB driver.
What does that mean?
If you’re old enough, or have an interest in old computers, you’ll know that PCs used to have all sorts of different connectors= PS2, AppleTalk, serial, parallel, SCSI, eSATA, VGA, DVI, joystick, audio, …
All of this can now be handled by a single connector: USB – Universal Serial Bus.
However "inside" USB there are different categories of "virtual device". One of which is the old fashioned serial port, which is still used to program and communicate with most microcontrollers.
One of the chips on the Heltech board is in fact a USB to serial converter chip!
However, it doesn’t work with the standard USB serial driver and requires a special driver to be installed.
Instructions are here.
Next we need to install Arduino.
Finally, we run Arduino and add the Heltech board support via the board manager.
Couple of Potential Gotchas
- If your code refuses to compile, complaining about missing libraries, incompatible versions, etc, make sure you have the right ESP32 board definition selected (Arduino vs Heltech’s)
- Can’t upload, or connect to the serial monitor? Getting "serial access" errors? Try closing other Arduino windows; something else is holding on to the USB Serial port